Sydney Opera House Facts
Jorn Utzon and the Opera House Architecture
Financed by gambling Jorn Utzon's architecture created one of
the iconic Australian landmarks. Sydney Opera House facts.
The opera house on Bennelong Point
Influenced by Mayan architecture and the Australian coastline, it connects the city with
Gambling Wins Australian Landmarks
Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, won the
design competition for the new opera house with a sketch that
was initially rejected as 'too ambitious'.
Jorn Utzon's sketch
Utzon's design was followed only for the
exterior. The interiors are the work of other architects.
Arrangements were made in 1999 to work with
Jorn Utzon to change at least some of the interior back to his
designs, updated as required.
- A reception hall, the Utzon Room, was
opened in 2004. It is the only Utzon interior finished so far,
although the Joan Sutherland Theatre was also planned to be renovated with his
input. Jorn Utzon died in 2008.
Architectural Composition of The Shells
The shells were originally a series of
parabolas, which couldn't be built with the technology of the time.
In mid 1961 Utzon and his engineering partners solved the problem by
designing the shells as ribs of a sphere.
All the ribs have the same radius.
The shells in 3-D
″After three years of intensive search for a basic geometry for the shell complex I
arrived in October 1961 at the spherical solution shown here.″
The shells arranged
″I call this my ′key to the shells′ because it solves all the problems
of construction by opening up for mass production, precision in manufacture and simple
erection and with this geometrical system I attain the full harmony between all the shapes
in this fantastic complex.″
The Tile Pattern
2194 precast concrete sections form the shells
of the Sydney Opera House, facts that significantly shortened
construction. Precasting the concrete sections allowed
the tiles to be prefabricated and attached in sheets before the
sections were raised.
1,056,006 self-cleaning white and cream tiles
create the chevron pattern on the shells.
Sydney Opera House Architecture
There are five performance spaces: the Concert
Hall and the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the shells; the Drama
Theatre, Playhouse and Studio in the upper podium,
below the Concert Hall.
Seating 2678, the Concert
Hall is the largest venue. The Joan Sutherland Theatre is significantly
smaller, with 1507 seats.
Inside the Concert Hall
More intimate yet are the Drama
Theatre, seating 544, and the Playhouse, 398.
The Studio is a small,
flexible space often used for cabaret performances, with tables and
chairs as well as fixed row seating around the perimeters.
Both main halls have some problems with acoustics,
and the Joan Sutherland Theatre also suffers from poor sightlines, a 'pocket
handkerchief' stage and a grossly inadequate orchestra pit.
You can stroll Bennelong Point all the way
around the Opera House for a 360 degree view around Circular Quay,
the Rocks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kirribilli, the Heads, the
Eastern Suburbs and Farm Cove. Once back at the external steps it's
just a few metres to the entrance of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
What's On at the Sydney Opera House
Home to Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra,
it's also a regular venue for Bell Shakespeare, the Sydney Theatre Company, the
Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Go here for
cheap tickets to Sydney Opera House performances.
The forecourt is used for outdoor performances.
The monumental steps provide seating and the the high rockface opposite
creates an ampitheatre effect.
Open-air art and craft markets take place
around the base of the Sydney Opera House every Sunday.
Good Value Restaurants
Come 31 December New Years Eve celebrations take over the concert hall, the Joan Sutherland Theatre's northern foyer, many of the restaurants and the western boardwalk.
Spectacular light shows wash the opera house
shells in stunning colours and shifting patterns as part of the Vivid Sydney
festival each June. Also during special events on Sydney harbour at other times
of the year.
Restaurants and bars abound, both in and immediately around the
Sydney Opera House. While none are super-cheap, there are reasonably
priced options as well as fine dining restaurants and very hip bars.